August 30, 2016
Why they call them the dog days I haven’t clue, I guess if I googled it would come with a Wikipedia description. There is typically a small window of slow sporting news where football training camps are subject for boring reading and baseball is in grinding days before the big rush to the end. Late August has now presented a socio-political firestorm mixed with football for a few days or weeks to light up the media airwaves and columns. The Kaepernick actions and comments are out there for everybody to debate and suddenly we have people talking about a real issue. Of course, it not a traditional sports related story on the surface but a topic runs deep to core of every citizen in the United States.
It is easy to do a character assassination on Mr. Kaepernick but really, we are talking about a young person who is fired up. He is an easy target for ridicule considering his status as a high-profile athlete who will always appear to be out of touch with the common man. Agreeing or disagreeing about Kaepernick’s stance is not really every going to be decided in the court of media extrapolation. Kaepernick will be both publicly shamed and lionized and he will never be treated the same again. It is very tough road to walk on and he will pay a heavy price, bigger than he will ever imagine.
Public shaming is blood sport in the most the world now due to social media and around the clock news coverage. Kaepernick’s fate as an NFL quarterback is hanging in the balance not just because of inconsistent play but because of his platform he wants to use for ideological beliefs. The San Francisco Forty Niners and the NFL have a potential conundrum to contend with if this is a prolonged and damaging stance. The NFL has many suitors and armed forces and police organizations will have to be dealt with and someone’s hand will be forced.
Racial issues are going to be elevated along with the political hoopla that goes with it. This will take some rational minds to work through the mire that that the one gesture has created. Unfortunately, Kaepernick will have to decide how far he will want to take this while still playing on an NFL franchise. Football is entertainment for most and a business to millionaires and when politics and a vocal athlete messes with that, it will not be tolerated. Bill Walsh the legendary coach of the Forty Niners used to tell his players during training camp, “Honor your teammates, honor your owner, honor the league and honor the fans.” Somehow that message always gets lost with a lot athletes in different sports. It may not be the most popular message that people want to hear but it came from a coach that is considered one of the best of all time.
Kaepernick cannot be compared to Muhammed Ali as some people have suggested. Ali did pay a price for his political stance, but he stood alone in prison. Mr. Kaepernick is not going to prison and he will keep cashing paychecks. On the contrary, all of this still has positive spin. Young people like Colin Kaepernick are still caring about what they see as injustice. It is their country to help shape to the way they see fit just like all of the other generations; it cannot always be left up to the rich and powerful to decide. Young people will also make some irrational decisions but as long as their heart is in the right place, we can rest easier with how things will turn out. The dog days of summer are over and it’s time to hang on for the bumpy ride.